self efficacy

We can all be superheroes…

I’ve got a throwback for you – and one that you’re going to love. It is all about SELF-EFFICACY (which I briefly mentioned earlier in the month), which is basically your success barometer. It’s a trait that can predict how successful you will be!

What makes it even more awesome is that you can build and develop it in a short period of time. It’s almost like a superpower.

Self-efficacy is basically a fancy term for what happens in the children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could.” Yeah. I said it was a throwback, I’m throwing this WAYYYYYYY BACK!

Do you remember it? 

It’s about a train that had to climb a big hill … and at first it wasn’t so sure it was possible.  It chanted, “I think I can, I think I can,” … which turned into “I know I can, I know I can,” … and eventually it pulled itself to the top of the hill.

Self-efficacy – the engine’s belief in itself that it could do hard things – is what powered that train up the mountain!

In a nutshell, self-efficacy is like self-confidence at the next level. 

It’s the KNOWING that you can count on yourself when the chips are down … and that you can and will make progress toward your goal. When you challenge yourself, push yourself out of your comfort zone and experience success your self-efficacy meter goes up. 

We teach it to kids, but it falls by the wayside as we get older. 

There can be so many reasons we stop flexing our “self-efficacy muscles” … time, expectations (from others and from ourselves), disappointments, fear, and trying to do TOO MUCH, TOO QUICKLY. Over time, this can have a profound impact on your life, making it so you don’t even consider trying new things and lose confidence in your ability to do so if you tried. We give up before we even start!

This is where the “comfort zone” comes in … and over time, that comfort zone can get smaller and smaller (and not very comfortable at all)!

How can you build self-efficacy?

So how do you work on building your self-efficacy? 

You commit to something that makes you uncomfortable and you tackle it by completing tiny, incremental steps that move you toward it.

It doesn’t necessarily mean going bungee jumping or signing up for a marathon right off the bat. It can be as simple (and as powerful) as deciding you are going to stick with a program for a month… and then following through with it, NO MATTER WHAT.

Even on days you don’t want to. Even if you’re tired or busy. Especially when you’re tired and busy. And you accomplish this by implementing tiny action steps that aren’t so monumental that they overwhelm you but consistently move you closer and closer toward your goal. 

There is a huge payoff in all of this. 

When you accomplish these tiny steps you realize what you’re capable of and you wire your brain for success. Your confidence grows because you LEARN that you can do it!

In the words of writer A.A. Milne in Winnie The Pooh, you learn:

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”  –– Christopher Robin.

I KNOW you can do whatever you put your mind to. But do YOU know it? 

All you have to do is decide, set up a series of tiny action steps that will lead you there and then just do it! 

You’ve got this.

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Jonathan Aluzas is co-owner of Arena Fitness, a fitness center that offers group training in Encino as well as personal training in Northridge.